By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Reporter

ARTWORKS depicting social issues, graphite drawings and installations, and paintings of an industrial landscape viewed with augmented reality came out on top in the 16th edition of the Ateneo Art Awards held on Sunday at the Ateneo Art Gallery of the Ateneo De Manila University in Quezon City.

The three main prize winners for the Ateneo Art Awards-Fernando Zobel Prizes for Visual Arts were Archie Orclos’s Lupang Hinirang, Keb Cerda’s Super Nardo: False Profits, and Costantino Zicarelli’s Years of Dust Will Build a Mountain. The three artists were awarded residencies at the Artesan Gallery + Studio in Singapore, Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom, and La Trobe Art Institute in Australia, respectively.

The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 12, which, in turn, were chosen from 84 nominees.

Keb Cerda’s Super Nardo: False Profits — exhibited at Untitled, Art, an international art fair founded in 2012 in San Francisco — integrates new media and augmented reality. It is best viewed by downloading an app (which the artist also developed) which allows viewers to play the role of Super Nardo in a Super Mario-inspired game wherein the character collects gold and navigates through painted landscapes.

Costantino Zicarelli’s Years of Dust Will Build a Mountain was exhibited in Art Informal Makati. Mr. Zicarelli’s graphite drawings and installations present a mise-en-scène of destruction. “I was attracted to the idea of people digging a hole, especially the energy that they give channeled from the hands and the earth, creating nothing where there used to be something,” Mr. Zicarelli explained in a video.

Archie Oclos’s Lupang Hinirang was part of the 2018 Thirteen Artist Awards exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Coming from a family of farmers, Mr. Oclos used sacks of rice for portraits of family members and printed words related to the lives of farmers. Meanwhile, a 20×70-feet mural titled Ang Mamatay ng Dahil Sayo depicts a covered dead body illustrated with lines, each one representing a victim of the current administration’s “war on drugs.”

“My art process involves a lot of immersion,” Mr. Oclos told BusinessWorld after the awarding ceremony, noting that he visited NGOs that advocate for human rights to collect data for his mural.

“This is the medium [street art] that I’m using since I did not have exposure to galleries and museums. I just really want to make art for the people,” he added.

Mr. Oclos’s Lupang Hinirang also bagged the People’s Choice Award, which was decided by votes cast by exhibition visitors.

Meanwhile Doktor Karayom’s Isla/nip, a giant board game with a dissected body as its centerpiece, claimed the Purchase Prize Award initiated by the Embassy of Italy in the Philippines where the work will be permanently displayed.

Finally, the Ateneo Art Awards-Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism went to John Alexis Balaguer and Mariah Reodica. Mr. Balaguer’s essay, “Everywhere is Here: The Museum as Heterotopia in Mark Lewis Higgins’ Gold in Our Veins,” tackled the said gold exhibition at the Ayala Museum. Ms. Reodica, on the other hand, wrote “Saltwater Trajectories: Bisan Tubig Di Magbalon, and Viva Excon as Cartographer,” which revolved around the 2018 edition of the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (Viva Excon).

Ms. Reodica will contribute a maximum of two stories a month for Philippine Star beginning January 2020; while Mr. Balaguer will write six articles within a one-year period for Art Asia Pacific magazine.

The Ateneo Art Awards 2019 exhibit is on view at the third floor of the Ateneo Art Gallery in Arete, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Ave, Quezon City, until Oct. 27; the art criticism pieces may be read at